Skip to main content

In the Security Industry the practice of ‘bug sweeping’ is known as TSCM, which is the abbreviation for ‘Technical Surveillance Countermeasures’. Whilst information can be stolen by other means, information gathered through the use of electronic eavesdropping represents a real, significant and growing threat.

WHY?

COVID-19 has and continues to have devastating impacts upon individuals and businesses worldwide, both at a human level but also the pandemic has created multifaceted problems and new complex risks for industry, both in the UK and globally. Commercial organisations face major challenges resulting from the pandemic, including the temporary (and sometimes permanent) closure of locations, staff redundancies and staff furloughed and changes to the business model; which in turn, has resulted in changes to both customers and suppliers.

Many Companies have been working from home, which leaves the few employees and other staff that are working onsite, unsupervised, often over long periods of time. This has created the perfect opportunity for adversaries to breach security and the resultant effect is the requirement for ‘bug sweeping’ or TSCM services.

WHAT IS TSCM?

TSCM, bug sweeping or debugging, is the procedure for locating and neutralising covert surveillance devices, which include audio, video and telephony transmitters in offices, residential homes, equipment, vehicles and other forms of transport. As technology continues to progress, the cost of equipment and knowledge required to carry out this form of surveillance has drastically reduced. Whilst information can be stolen by other means, information gathered through the use of electronic eavesdropping represents a real, significant and growing threat.

HOW REAL IS THE THREAT LANDSCAPE?

The covert listening (and watching) devices of today use advanced technology, are more sophisticated, complex and smaller in size, with longer battery life and access to wireless networks designed to collect information such as audio, video and data. These devices are readily available on the open market and anyone can purchase and deploy them.

INFORMATION RISK MANAGEMENT

The loss of business information can have a critical impact on economic survival, it can damage company reputation, image and intellectual property; the effects of which can be irreversible. This can include sensitive client information, employee data and trading information and key commercial decision-making processes and outcomes. Industrial espionage through electronic eavesdropping is not only directed at the corporate market place, it can be activated against high profile individuals and their families and associates. Whilst information can be stolen by many means, information gathering by electronic eavesdropping represents a real and significant threat. The attack can come from an unscrupulous employee or a rival and it can be directed from within the target location or a remote location.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO ADDRESS THIS EMERGING THREAT?

Deploying a TSCM specialist team such as Matrix is the only way to counter this threat and to provide effective information risk management for your assets, employees, reputation, and commercial decision-making processes; ensuring privacy is maintained, particularly when key commercial decisions are being made. Just as important, and this cannot be stressed enough, effective TSCM will also identify potential vulnerabilities and security weaknesses in your physical information risk management framework.